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UNITED
NATIONS
A

        General Assembly
A/65/PV.42
3 November 2010

Official Records

General Assembly
Sixty-fifth session

42nd plenary meeting
Wednesday, 3 November 2010, 10 a.m.
New York

President: Mr. Deiss .................................................................. (Switzerland)




The President (spoke in French): ... I give the floor to the representative of Thailand, who is also the President of the Human Rights Council.

Mr. Phuangketkeow (Thailand): ...

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... An urgent debate was held in June on the attack on the flotilla, followed in the September session by an interactive dialogue with the international fact-finding mission on that case. During that same session, an interactive dialogue was held with the Committee of independent experts to monitor and assess any domestic, legal or other proceedings undertaken by both the Government of Israel and the Palestinian side, in light of Assembly resolution 64/254. ...

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Mr. Abdelaziz (Egypt) (spoke in Arabic): ...

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The choice of good global governance as the main theme for our discussions during the sixty-fifth session of the General Assembly has emphasized the important contribution of governance to the protection of all human rights in accordance with international conventions and agreements, the significance of the full enjoyment of these rights by all peoples of the world without exception or discrimination, and the need for the international community to intensify its efforts to achieve the following objectives.

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Fourthly, we should reiterate the central role of the Council in ensuring respect for all human rights and international humanitarian law, in particular in the occupied Palestinian territories, by verifying Israel’s full compliance with all its international obligations, including its commitment to cooperate fully with the Special Rapporteur and the fact-finding missions and commissions mandated by the Human Rights Council to investigate gross human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories.

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Mr. Núñez Mosquera (Cuba) (spoke in Spanish): ...

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Despite these problems, generally speaking it is undeniable that the outcome of the recent years’ work of the Human Rights Council has been positive. In its short existence, it has managed to consolidate effective practices to ensure a truly universal scrutiny of the human rights situation in the world and a climate of respect and confidence, essential for its work. The Council has also demonstrated its ability to address emergencies demanding the attention of the international community. On several occasions, it has analysed the serious human rights violations perpetuated by Israel on the Palestinian people.

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Mr. Alhajeri (Kuwait) (spoke in Arabic): ...

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In discussing today the subject of human rights, we cannot disregard the gross and grave violations of all international norms and laws that the Israeli occupation forces commit against the unarmed Palestinian people, or Israel’s infringement of international humanitarian law through its illegal settlement activities and unjust siege of the Gaza Strip, depriving an unarmed population of their basic needs. The international community must assume its responsibilities and protect the Palestinian people from all the illegal practices and policies of the Israeli occupation.

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Mr. Al Habib (Islamic Republic of Iran): ...

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We welcome today’s meeting to consider the reports of the Human Rights Council (see A/65/53), including that of its fifteenth session (A/65/53/Add.1), which contain a number of important resolutions, including the reference to the reports concerning the Israeli regime’s attacks on the flotilla of ships, as well as its brutal assault on the innocent Palestinian people in Gaza.

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Mr. Ntwaagae (Botswana): ...

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My delegation attaches great importance to the promotion and protection of human rights and, in that regard, we welcome the update on the work carried out by the Council during the period under review. We note that the Human Rights Council has continued to respond expeditiously to emerging human rights situations around the world, including through special sessions such as the one convened in January this year following the tragedy of the earthquake in Haiti. We further note that the Council has also taken decisions on other pressing situations, including that in the occupied Palestinian territory and the international probe on the flotilla raid.

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Mr. Waxman (Israel): It is with dismay and disappointment that I address this gathering as we consider the recent report (A/65/53) of the Human Rights Council. According to its founding instruments, that Council — one of the leading United Nations human rights bodies — is required to conduct its work based on the principles of universality, impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity without distinction of any kind and in a fair and equal manner. It is, therefore, most unfortunate that the Human Rights Council has, time and again, betrayed its responsibility and its founding principles by turning a blind eye to the worst human rights violations throughout the world, while conveniently and obsessively focusing on Israel.

Today’s report and the series of draft resolutions that it contains show just how far the Human Rights Council has strayed from those founding principles. Once again, that forum has been manipulated to serve the most cynical of political motivations. Once again, it has failed to live up to its responsibility to address human rights abuses around the world, while at the same time pursuing a narrow, politicized agenda.

Any objective examination of the Council’s recent report would confirm its prejudice against Israel. About half of the country-specific resolutions contained in the report that do not deal with technical assistance are targeted exclusively at Israel. That is a glaring example of the Council’s profound institutional bias. Furthermore, since the creation of the Council, 12 of its 15 regular sessions have adopted one-sided resolutions condemning Israel and six of the 13 special sessions of the Council have been devoted specifically to singling out my country.

I would also note that the Human Rights Council’s agenda item 7 is its only standing agenda item concerned with a particular country situation, singling it out from all other 191 country situations. That fact stands in marked contrast to the basic notions of fairness and impartiality and is inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the Council’s constitutive instrument, embodied in General Assembly resolution 60/251.

The politicized nature of that Council was demonstrated again by its response to the 31 May incident involving vessels bound for the Gaza Strip. The Council found it appropriate to adopt resolution 14/1 condemning Israel only two days after that incident, without any verifiable factual information about what had actually occurred. The Council’s report (A/HRC/15/21) on that incident embodies the same spirit of wilful ignorance, making it clear that the Council prefers to perpetuate inflammatory language and a politicized agenda instead of pursuing the truth.

The biased manner in which the Human Rights Council handled that incident is simply unacceptable. In contrast, even as we speak, an objective, thorough and independent investigation of the incident is taking place in Israel. Furthermore, Israel has agreed to participate in the Secretary-General’s Panel of Inquiry on that matter and will share the findings of its internal investigation with the Panel’s experts.

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Mr. Barton (United States of America): ...

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Furthermore, we were pleased to participate in the adoption of several resolutions that called attention to human rights situations in specific countries, most recently through the renewal of the mandate of the independent expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan. Those resolutions will help protect and promote human rights around the world and are examples of what we can accomplish when we work together.

However, we continue to be disappointed by the Council’s unbalanced and one-sided approach to the human rights situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories. The Council should treat all countries in an unbiased, objective manner. As the report notes, in the past year the Council has passed multiple resolutions that target Israel. The United States could not, and does not, support those resolutions for many reasons, largely because they attempt to delegitimize the Government of Israel and make no mention of the serious violations of international law deliberately committed by Hamas.

That continuing bias is further evident in the Council’s hasty resolution establishing a fact-finding mission with a flawed mandate to investigate the tragic incident aboard the Gaza-bound ships in late May and the Council’s resolution following up on the fact-finding mission’s report. We also oppose the follow-up resolution’s recommendation that the General Assembly consider the report of the fact-finding mission (A/HRC/15/21), which itself did not recommend further United Nations action. We commend the Secretary-General’s constructive initiative in convening a panel that will receive and review the results of Israel’s and Turkey’s investigations, and we welcome the spirit of cooperation that it represents. We continue to regard that panel as the primary method for the international community to review the incident.

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